ITHACA, N.Y. — An Ithaca man accused of killing a UPS driver from Candor said in court Monday afternoon that not only did he believe he shot and killed Donald Trump, but that no evidence could be presented to him to suggest otherwise.
Justin R. Barkley, 38, said during his arraignment and subsequent attempt to plead guilty, “I shot and killed Donald Trump purposely, intentionally and very proudly.”
He told the court that he knew where president elect Donald Trump would be on Dec. 8 and waited in the Ithaca Walmart parking lot kill him.
“I went there to purposely shoot and kill him and put him down,” Barkley said.
He told the court that he understood the difference between mistaking a person for being Trump and asserting that he actually killed Trump. When asked if any evidence could be presented to him to suggest he killed a different person, he said, “I would hope not.”
Behind him in court, victim William Schumacher’s family cried and shook as Barkley made his statements.
Barkley has been indicted for the felonies of second-degree murder and menacing a police officer or peace officer.
On Dec. 8, court documents show that Barkley allegedly admitted to shooting a person to death and firing a “sound shot” at police officers attempting to take him in to custody. His actions sparked a nearly eight-hour standoff with police which ended with no further injuries when he turned himself in to police.
Barkley, who is being represented by attorney James Baker, attempted to plead guilty to the charges against him Monday afternoon. Before being sworn in for the guilty plea, he declined to further consider a not guilty plea by reason of mental disease or defect.
But after making his statements about Donald Trump, a short recess was called where attorneys met in private with Judge John Rowley.
When they returned, Rowley said he was initially prepared to accept Barkley’s plea, but the man’s statements gave him pause.
“I hadn’t been concerned until we got to the oath,” Rowley said.
He asked Barkley if it would be possible for the defendant to plead guilty and confess that he mistook Schumacher for Trump.
“I would not agree to that your honor,” Barkley said, noting that he has never met a man named William Schumacher before.
“I am not going to accept your guilty plea,” Rowley said, though he noted he does not intend to unnecessarily prolong the prosecution of Barkley.
Attorney Baker argued he did not believe his client had to differentiate who he killed during the plea, just that he had killed a person.
Assistant District Attorney Eliza Filipowski requested a mental evaluation of Barkley to determine whether he is competent to stand trial. The evaluation includes reports by multiple psychiatric examiners.
Barkley is scheduled to reappear in court at 2 p.m. Jan. 6 to address those two major aspects of the case.
Featured photo: Justin Barkley is taken into the Tompkins County Courthouse Monday for arraignment. Photo by Jolene Almendarez/The Ithaca Voice.